Humboldt Bay Fire consolidation to be complete in January

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EUREKA- Starting January 1st, the merger between the Eureka Fire Department and Humboldt Number 1 Fire Protection District will be complete.

Firefighters with Humboldt Bay Fire have technically stayed city or district employees. The department has been negotiating with the state to complete the consolidation, but until November, CalPERS would only allow the transfer if employees received the highest possible retirement rates. Now, the state has agreed to approve the consolidation without raising those rates. Over the next five years, the department has two main goals. They are to implement a system to redirect people to care facilities other than hospitals when appropriate and improve emergency response during natural disasters.

"I think you'll see a more refined service, particularly in the areas of healthcare.  You'll see us doing a number of different types of things that improve the level of services right now, but also partnering with the citizens to understand what their needs are and how we can improve upon them," said Humboldt Bay Fire Chief Ken Woods.